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Action on peat comes two years after environmental complaint
Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 30th Sept 2020
Call on Minister to control private companies as Bord Na Mona quits peat bedding sector
Action comes two years after environmental complaint
Two years after calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to exercise his powers under the legislation to stop Teagasc, the Farm Advisory Service, and Bord na Mona from promoting the use of deep peat for bedding in animal housing, Bord na Mona has announced that it is exiting the peat bedding market.
The extent of the practice came to light on field trips conducted by Friends of the Irish Environment in the summer of 2018. It coincided with Bord na Mona and Teagasc beginning to market peat as an alternative to straw after the poor harvests led to shortages of straw. The company entered the market in 2017, having reportedly appointed a team to manage sales and grow the market in the wake of reduced use of peat for power generation.
The environmental charity Friends of the Irish Environment have conducted a number of site visits in the area over the last ten years. The August 2018 visit included meetings with local residents and the photographic recording of extensive ‘deep cutting’ works underway.
FIE’s 2018 letter to the Minister pointed out that Teagasc itself had acknowledged the damage of peat extraction in their publication the previous month ‘An Analysis of Abatement Potential of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Irish Agriculture 2021-2030’. They asked the Minister ‘to ensure that further damage to the environment and increased emissions of GHG’s are not caused by this initiative.’
Bord na Mona confirmed to the Farming Independent this week that, in line with its Brown to Green strategy adopted in 2018, it ‘made decisions in 2019 not to harvest peat for animal bedding, not to pursue that market and to sell off any existing stocks.’
While thanking the Minister for any part the Department had played in ending Bord na Mona and Teagasc support for peat as animal bedding, the group has pointed out that private contractors have made no such decision. ‘The ‘extent of the continuing wholescale excavations and removal of raised bogs is well known to your Department and the Environmental Protection Agency,’ the letter states.
‘What applies to the goose applies to the gander’ said FIE’s Tony Lowes, who wrote the original letter to then Minister Creed. ‘The raised bogs that are being entirely excavated for animal bedding are a blatant abuse - whoever is doing it’.
‘We urge you now, Minister, to use your influence and powers to help bring to an end this shocking destruction of our vanishing raised bog with all the adverse implications for biodiversity and climate change,’ the new letter ends.
CONTACT: Tony Lowes 353 (0)27 74771 / 353 (0)87 2176316
Letter to Minister
Bord na Mona quits peat bedding sector [Farming Independent, September 29, 2020 https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/bord-na-mona-quits-peat-bedding-sector-39570984.html
2018: Minister called on to halt extraction of peat for animal bedding